A Sexless marriage

Like many married couples, My friends had an active sex life in the BC years--as in, "before children." Whether they went out to dinner or spent hours in bed, their time together was intimate and enjoyed by both of them.

But the birth of their twins some months ago has put limits on their quality time. Going out - even for a cup of coffee - often means finding someone [most often it was her mother] to baby sit. The physical and emotional demands of motherhood were factors in the decision my friend made to set aside her career as a doctor in order to stay home with the children. Now she's battling the pressure she feels to find a job that complements her new priorities.

Initially, her decision to quit her job was fine with her husband, a s/w executive. But after almost a year of living off a single salary, he's grown frustrated. Between his stressful days at work and their conflicts over money, not to mention their shifts in roles and responsibilities, the intimacy the couple once shared has waned. Both want to recapture that closeness, but neither knows where to begin to resolve their issues.

Her Story

She would often say "When you hear about a couple hardly having sex, you automatically assume that they can't stand each other or that someone's cheating. You figure they have to be in an awful, awful marriage, but that's not us at all. I love my husband, and I know he loves me. It has just been exceptionally difficult to find the time to be intimate. We tried planning 'date nights,' and that worked for a while. But then it kind of fell by the wayside because it takes so much coordinating. My parents live close by, but they are pretty old. It's not fair to dump the kids on them all the time. I've read about how this type of thing happens to lots of busy couples nowadays, but that doesn't make it any easier to deal with. On those rare occasions when we do have sex, it's wonderful. And we both think, Wow, we should do this more often.

Between dealing with the kids and the house and trying to find a job that offers a more flexible schedule, my days are full. When by some miracle the kids fall asleep without coaxing and we have some time to ourselves, my husband starts an argument about money. He acts as though I'm breaking the bank for making household purchases he feels we don't need. Does he even have a clue as to what baby food and baby “stuff” cost these days?

I resent his frustration, and he resents mine. There are times when I get so angry I don't even want him to touch me. That's a bad place to be in your marriage."

His Story

He would complain “I'd like to see us get along better. We need more couple time, which I think would eventually translate into more intimacy. That's the difficult part. I commute almost two hours a day to and from work. When I get home, I want to spend some time with the kids. Then there are E-mails I need to follow up on for work in addition to a business I'm working on.

She wants me to do more romantic things, like bring her flowers and gaze into her eyes. But I think she could be more romantic as well; she could initiate sex more often.

Typically arguments start when I open a credit-card bill. She spends too much, yet gets mad when I question what she's bought. It's my goal to retire at 55, and we're way off track.

It's important to me that our financial goals are in sync. Our family has to be the top priority. I can't understand why she isn't searching harder for a job that suits both her and her schedule with the kids. She said she wanted to take a year off after our twins were born. But the year is almost up, and she's no closer to figuring out a career path than she was ten months ago. My mother has always worked. We have couple friends; the wives work. I feel as if I'm working really hard to pull it all together for our family, so when it comes to our time alone, I am just too drained."

Any suggestion?

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